Cocker Spaniel Information


Belonging to two breeds of the spaniel dog, the English Cocker Spaniel and American Cocker Spaniel are known for being merry well-balanced dogs with considerable speed and great endurance. As an active Sporting Group breed with a sturdy compact body that exudes playfulness, it is no surprise that the Cocker Spaniel is ranked as the 27th most popular dog breed owned in the United States according to the American Kennel Club. Read on to find a full breed description to determine whether a Cocker Spaniel would be the right addition to your household and lifestyle.

Cocker Spaniel
Basic Info
NameCocker Spaniel
Other NameCocker, Cocker Spaniel
Size Type Medium Dog Breeds
Breed Group Hunting Dog Breeds
Life Span12 to 15 years
TemperamentAffectionate, Trainable, Playful, Faithful, Friendly, Quiet
Height14 to 15 inches
Weight20 to 30 pounds
ColorsTri-color, White & Buff, Black, Red, Tan, Silver, Brown
Puppy Price$600 - $800 USD

Cocker Spaniel

Physical description

Body Type

As a medium-sized sturdy dog breed, the Cocker Spaniel has a rounded head with a broad squared muzzle and a well-pronounced stop. The dogs have even jaws, teeth that meet in a scissors bite, and long low-set ears that exhibit feathering. While the very round and slightly almond-shaped eyes are normally dark in coloring, merle Cocker Spaniels may have blue eyes. Despite the fact that it is illegal in various parts of the world, the tail is traditionally docked. The legs are straight, but the topline of the back slopes slightly from the front of the dog to the hindquarters. English Cocker Spaniels are typically between 15 and 16 inches at the shoulder height with a weight ranging from 28 to 32 pounds, but American Cocker Spaniels are slightly smaller than their cousins at 14 to 15.5 inches and weighing 24 to 30 pounds.


The coat of the Cocker Spaniel comes in a wide range of variations, including black, red, liver, golden, tan, merle, and roan. In addition to the solid colors, the dogs may have parti-color combinations of white with buff or red, white with black, black with tan markings, white with black and tan points, or any solid color with white points.


Although field lines have distinctively shorter coats than show lines, the Cocker Spaniel possesses a silky coat that is flat or slightly wavy. With medium length hairs covering the body and short fine hairs on the head, the breed is considered an average shedder.

Good with Kids
Cat Friendly
Dog Friendly
Hypoallergenic  No


Since the Cocker Spaniel has a long luxurious coat, there will be extensive grooming requirements needed to keep the coat in good condition. Some owners prefer to keep the coat long, but whenever this is the case the dogs will need to be brushed daily and shampooed frequently along with professional clipping on a quarterly basis. Others prefer to clip the coat to medium length to be more functional and less maintenance. However, either way, the dogs will need to be trimmed regularly by a professional groomer. Whenever brushing a Cocker Spaniel, it is important for owners to be extra cautious to not pull out the silky hair and remove any tangles carefully. Veterinarians also suggest that owners take the time to wipe under the eyes and clean the eyes frequently because they tend to tear.


While very little is known about the early history of the Cocker Spaniel, it is believed that their origins date back to the 14th century where they originated in Spain. The term “cocker” came from the dog’s early use in hunting woodcock, which was a game bird that the dogs were well-known for flushing. As a hunting gundog with the ability to work in difficulty terrain on both wet and dry land, the Cocker Spaniel became popular for being excellent at flushing and retrieving game with its gentle mouth. Since the dogs listen to commands extremely well, the breed excelled its talents at hunting, retrieving, tracking, guarding, agility, and competitive obedience.

Interestingly enough, the only requirement for a dog to be classified as a Cocker Spaniel prior to the 1870s was that it needed to weigh less than 25 pounds. All larger dogs at the time were classified as being Springer Spaniels. Following the formation of the Kennel Club in the United Kingdom, breeders made efforts to record the pedigrees of the two dogs and finally recognized the English Cocker Spaniels and English Springer Spaniels as separate breeds. By 1873, the Cocker Spaniel was first officially recognized by the American Kennel Club.


Equally suited to life as a gundog or household companion, the Cocker Spaniel is often described as being bold, keen, sweet, gentle, cheerful, and intelligent. Charming with its ever-wagging tail, the dog is amusingly active, playful, and devoted to its family. Known for being highly respectful of their master’s authority or leadership, the dogs usually understand their place is under humans and are good with children of all ages. Although Cocker Spaniels can be relatively hard to housebreak, they are mostly easy to train in other aspects and get along well with other canine or non-canine animals if socialized well when young.

With their bustling amounts of energy and stamina, it is imperative that Cocker Spaniels receive regular daily exercise with long walks. Although the dogs should be taught to avoid brushy thickets that can tangle the coat, the dogs will also enjoy working off energy with a good romp in a safe, open, and fenced-in area. Whenever the dogs are not exercised daily mentally and physically, Cocker Spaniels may develop behavioral problems, including submissive urinating, guarding objects, obsessive barking, roaming, hyperactivity, and shy-sharpness with fear and dominance. Since they are fairly active indoors, the breed will be okay in an apartment with adequate amounts of exercise.

Interesting Cocker Spaniel Facts

  • As the dog breed that has been scientifically studied the most, research has found that the coloring of the Cocker Spaniel gives an idea to its temperament. Solid-colored Cocker Spaniels have been found to display more aggressive behaviors than part-colored, with red and golden being the most hostile of the normally gentle breed.


  • Made famous for its refinement in Disney’s “Lady and the Tramp,” the latest in a long line of Cocker Spaniels in royal families is Lupo, who was recently adopted by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William and Kate Middleton.
  • There have been cases through selective breeding of very light golden strains produced an all-white Cocker Spaniel, such as the grandson of Best in Show winner My Own Brucie who was born all-white in 1941.